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A. Schuyler, NP
A. Schuyler, NP, Nurse Practitioner
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 16325
Experience:  Board Certified NP, MS, RN. 25 years private practice & hospitalist
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I have history of GERD and anxiety. I am not overweight, I

Customer Question

I have long history of GERD and anxiety. I am not overweight, I am 39 yrs old and I am a tobacco user. I take 40mg of nexium daily and that is the only medication I take. I had an upper gi endoscopy 5 yrs ago that was all clear. Three days ago, I woke up with horrible pressure in my chest which I recognized as GERD related but it was much worse than ever before. Since that time I have less pressure but terrible sharp pain whenever I eat or drink anything. Even when I swallow saliva or belch I have pain. It is like whenever my esophagus stretches I have pain. The pain is right below my breast bone at the top of my stomach. I am very fearful that this is a tumor. I am not coughing up blood or anything else. It doesn't so much feel like the food is getting stuck as it just causes loads of pain. I have no health insurance so I can't run off to the doctor every time I feel ill.   My anxiety is amping up and I fearing the worst and fixating on it. Help!!
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  A. Schuyler, NP replied 6 years ago.


Welcome to Just Answer and thanks for your question. You can take another acid reducer like Zantac along with your Nexium until you see a doctor or go to a free clinic. You should also quit smoking since that always makes GERD, ulcers, etc. worse. They will want to repeat the endoscopy. If you can find it, the liquid antacid Gaviscon contains alginate that helps coat the esophagus and reduce the pain. Here is a list of free clinics. However your best resource may be your telephone directory, since only a small portion of free clinics make the national lists.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks for the response but I guess what is causing me the most anxiety is the fear that this is a tumor. Does this sound like cancer or just really bad GERD? Given my age and the fact that nothing was found 5 years ago, does that mean my chances are good for this not being a tumor? As for a doctor, I already called and the wait is months at the free clinic. They said try the ER if the pain is too much otherwise wait. I tend to freak out about my health and always assume the worst. As this is a new symptom for me, I am very fearful. Any peace of mind you can give me would be great.
Expert:  A. Schuyler, NP replied 6 years ago.

It is unlikely to be a tumor, but ling term GERD can cause Barrett's esophagus which can become cancer. Free clinics usually do not have waits at all. You just go and they see you. Try calling another, or go to a walk-in clinic. You may pay $75 out of pocket but it would be worth it. You really can't diagnose anything by what the symptoms sound like. You need a workup.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I have read that tumors are usually painless. Is this true? I know you can't diagnose over the internet, but does this sound serious?
Expert:  A. Schuyler, NP replied 6 years ago.

Anything that painful is serious and needs to be evaluated so you can get some relief.

Tumors may or may not be painful depending on size, type, and where they are.